Disney World, Orlando, FL | Anniversary Trip – Personal

Be sure to check out the first two days of our anniversary trip here and here!!

Our last day in Florida we headed to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I was super excited about this part of our trip because – wait for it – I had never been to Disney before!! Yes, yes, it’s true…

Let me just say, not having experienced Disney as a child, making this trip with one of the Surfer Hub’s best friends and his little boy and seeing the park through his eyes made it just as magical.

Here’s a little group shot as we first entered the Magic Kingdom:

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And Surfer Hubs and I with the Great Goofini!

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I have to give credit to the wonderful landscapers and maintenance people… this park is pristine and the greenery is just gorgeous!!

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We managed to make it back to the the Castle just in time for the parade!!

**Here’s a little piece of advice** Don’t wear super thin flip flops or sandals to Disney. And if you do, find a little patch of shade to stand in. We waited for a few minutes for the parade to reach us and the pavement was so hot, the bottoms of my feet got burned. Through my sandals!! I would hate for that to happen to someone’s kiddo!

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This shot was taken inside the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. Isn’t this pully system amazing?! The treehouse looks just like the one they built in the movie!

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Surfer Hubs and his Princes… yes, I had to go there 😉

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And one last shot of Main Street:

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We had such a great day. Who would have thought you could do Disney with a 2.5 yr-old, no stroller, and he’d walk the whole park with no problem?? Jeff’s Little Man was a champ!! And the magic and excitement we all got to share with him – I wouldn’t trade that for the world!

Amelia Island, Day 2 | Aniversary Trip – Personal

Our second day on Amelia Island was spent very much like the first – on the beach!! (If you missed the first post, be sure to head over here to check it out!)

This time we stayed a little closer to the house and headed to the waterfront right next to the Amelia Island Hilton. This beach was a little more crowded than American beach but we didn’t mind a bit!

Here are some of the images from our 2nd day on the beach:

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Surfer Hubs and I on the beach.

Surfer Hubs and I on the beach.

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It was another day full of searching for seashells, flying a first kite, trying to catch the biggest fish – or shark! – and finally talking the little man into dipping his toes in the water!! Once he got his feet wet, there was no stopping him. This kid might be part fishie himself!

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Little Fisherman

Little Fisherman

First kite!

First kite!

Chris' Bonnet Head Shark

Chris’ Bonnet Head Shark

Finally brave enough to get his feet wet.

Finally brave enough to get his feet wet.

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Not scared of the water any more!

Not scared of the water any more!

What a wonderful anniversary trip!

What a wonderful anniversary trip!

Perfect end to our second day on Amelia Island – relaxing with my hunny.

Be sure to check back for some of the pictures from our trip to Disney!!

Amelia Island, Huguenot State Park, and American Beach | Anniversary Trip – Personal

The first weekend in April we headed to Amelia Island, Florida, with a friend of ours and his little boy to celebrate our anniversary. His mom lives on Amelia Island in the most charming gated community full of blooming azaleas and spanishmoss-clung oad trees. AND… she happens to have a little guest house… which felt like staying at a friend’s bed and breakfast! It was amazing!!

This palm is literally in her front flowerbed!

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The first day of our vacation, Surfer Hubs and I headed down to Huguenot Memorial Park.

Gulls and Pelicans at Huguenot Memorial Park

Gulls and Pelicans at Huguenot Memorial Park

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The ride from Amelia Island to Huguenot Memorial Park was just gorgeous!! Spanish moss and azaleas everywhere!

Love all the Spanish Moss!!

Love all the Spanish Moss!!

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After our little drive to Huguenot, we all headed to American Beach on Amelia Island. Here’s a little history lesson for you: This beach was purchased during the segregation era by Abraham Lincoln Lewis, owner of Afro-American Life Insurance, as a place for his employees to vacation and own homes by the shore. It remains a historic beach community to this day.

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What does a crab say?  **pinch, pinch**

What does a crab say? **pinch, pinch**

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Fishing on Amelia Island

Fishing on Amelia Island

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As you can see, there was much playing in the sand, searching for sea shells and fishing done by all and it was a wonderful, relaxing day at the beach. If you’re ever on Amelia Island and looking for a quieter beach to take your family, American Beach is the place to go!

Check back next week for more pictures of our Amelia Island and Disney World vacation!

Our First Anniversary | Personal

Yesterday, Surfer Hubs and I snuck down to Corolla, NC, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I couldn’t think of a better way to have spent the day. Just the two of us, and our furbabies, in our own little world. Chris fishing. Me reading. Us. Together. It was wonderful.

If I could give just one piece of relationship advice to newlyweds on how to make their their first year of marriage work, it would be to do just this. Spend time together, just the two of you, and shut the rest of the world out as often as possible. I’m not saying to become hermits and never spend time with friends or family, but when it’s just the two of you, let it be just the two of you. Create strong boundaries and you’ll be surprised how easy the rest will be.

And, just for fun, here are a few images from our wedding day, captured by our wonderful photographer and friend, Amanda Hedgepeth.

View More: http://amandahedgepethphotography.pass.us/anna--chris-signature-at-west-neck-virginia-beach-wedding

View More: http://amandahedgepethphotography.pass.us/anna--chris-signature-at-west-neck-virginia-beach-wedding

View More: http://amandahedgepethphotography.pass.us/anna--chris-signature-at-west-neck-virginia-beach-wedding

Happy Anniversary, Hunny!! I hope to celebrate so many, many more wonderful years with you!

Happy Birthday, Hunny! | Personal

Today is Surfer Hub’s birthday and I just wanted to take a minute to wish him the very bestest day!! This man has changed my whole world, showed me it’s okay to let someone do things for me, that romance isn’t just mushy-love-junk, and that two really are better than one. I can’t imagine where I’d be without this most wonderful man. I hope to be reminding him how old he is for many, many more wonderful years!!

Happy Birthday, Hunny! I love you soooo much!!





Happy Spring!! | Personal

The calendar says it’s spring. I know it does. Even though they’re predicting snow showers here this evening! I know everyone is saying it, and while I’ve been working hard not to add to all the complaining, I’m hoping it is the very last of the winter weather we see until much, much later this year. I moved south for a reason ya’ll!!

Here are a few images I captured of the pussywillows I bought last weekend. I’ve always wanted to buy some of these for the house and yet for some reason every spring, I just never seem to get around to doing it. Well, this year, I finally bought a little “spring” for our dining room table!

Rex was just so fascinated by these pussywillows!!

Rex was just so fascinated by these pussywillows!!

I also bought a bright, cheery, bouquet for the kitchen. (This is what happens when the hubs heads out off-shore fishing for the day… at least this time there wasn’t glitter involved!!)

Adding some bright, cheery colors to our house!

Adding some bright, cheery colors to our house!

Here’s a little note for all you allergy sufferers: If you buy pussywillows rooted in water, they will produce pollen. However, if you buy them unrooted, you won’t have to put them in water and you won’t have to worry about sneezing or itchy, watery eyes!

Christmas Snow | Photography Bucket List, Personal

I’ve had nighttime snow portraits on my photography bucket list for quite some time. Here in Virginia Beach, usually, snow is a little hard to come by, so I really had my fingers crossed that we’d get some snow while visiting my folks over the holidays. They hadn’t had a white Christmas in quite some time but… my chances were better for snow in Northern Pennsylvania than they were here at the beach. (However, I may have jinxed us on that one this year… )

Someone must have thought I’d been a good girl last year because it started snowing the day after we arrived on my parents’ farm. Daytime snow. Gorgeous, blanketing everything, and just in time for a white Christmas. But… by nightfall… the snow had stopped.

Thankfully, a day or two after Christmas, I got my wish. You should have seen the look Chris gave me when I asked him to come pose for pictures with me… yikes! We were all snuggled in and ready to start a movie so going out in the snow was not quite as exciting for him as it was for me. As you can see, the end result was well worth our efforts:

My Christmas wish: Nighttime snow pictures!!

My Christmas wish: Nighttime snow pictures!!

Here’s the trick to setting up this type of shot: one light behind your subject, low and pointed up toward your subject’s head, and one light infront of your subject, either bounced or diffused onto your subject. Here, I used one of my off-camera-flash setups with the stand as low as it would go and a white umbrella to really blow out the light and catch all the falling snow around us. Then, on my camera, I used a flash, synced with the OCF, with a diffuser since I didn’t have anything to bouce the light off. (We took this shot in my parents’ driveway next to the house which is situated in the middle of the woods and my parents’ house is stained a dark black walnut color.) I also had to turn on the front light on the house so that my camera could autofocus and we stood outside the glow from the light. There aren’t any streetlights where I grew up!!

I’m really hoping we’ve seen the last of the snow for this year here at the beach but hopefully you can file these pointers away until next winter!

More Snow! | Virginia Beach, VA

I swear I moved south for a reason – to get away from the cold weather! Apparently I didn’t go quite far enough!! Here in Virginia Beach, we receivedfour inches of snow two weeks ago and then, last week, another eleven inches.

My poor Moai was burried nearly to his mouth!

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Since we don’t seem to own a snow shovel – a fact I intend to rectify shortly – Surfer Hubs had to clear a path through the back yard for the dogs with a hockey stick. Believe it or not, it worked pretty well! Once he had a path, Rex decided this snow stuff was pretty fun – and tasted good too!

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Here’s a shot of our street. Looks like a few brave souls were able to venture out. Not me, the Cav was going nowhere! I was pretty glad, too, since I can’t afford to wreck another car and these Virginia Beach drivers are a little crazy when it comes to precipitation of any sort…

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I secretly don’t mind a little snow because it doesn’t usually last very long; I just hope there won’t be any more this year. I’m ready for spring!

February | Goals and Making Lemonade

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Twelve lemons. 2013’s lemons. Finally ripe and ready to be made into something wonderful. Like lemonade. Or maybe a lemon chess pie…

When I picked these yesterday, I thought this was ironically fitting. And to add to the irony – there won’t be any lemons this year. All of the buds were frozen last fall when I didn’t get the trees in early enough one evening. One lemon for each month of a challenging year and now a year without lemons. And I’m perfectly okay with that. And I can’t wait to turn these lemons into something delicious – just like I’m working to turn last year’s challenges into this year’s victories!

January’s Goals:
(which didn’t get blogged in January, so you’re seeing them here for the first time)
Workout – gym, Jillian, something – woohoo!! I did great with this before coming down with the flu and will be getting back on that horse now that my cough is clearing up
clean out, clear out, put away everything Christmas
– tax docs done – I got a really good start on this, just a few deductions left to add in!
no spending – no clothes, shoes, or accessories purchased!! (I did have to buy a new printer… but this was a business purchase, not a personal one)
– learn more about SEO
have the trim painted at my house
– blog twice/week
– meal plan
read the Word
read for pleasure
take more non-client pictures – yay for beach snow!!
time for recharging – nothing like the flu to knock you on your behind and really make you sit back and take it easy
purge & organizethis is an ongoing effort, but we made great leaps in clearing clutter this month!

Goals for February:
– Keep up the workout efforts
– Design personal photo albums and finally get those pictures somewhere other than hard drives!
– File taxes
– Install new carpet in my house – last step before it goes on the market!!
– Organize my bedroom closet
– Make a freezer meal
– No spending – except Valentine’s Day
– One evening each week with my business (minimum)
– Read for pleasure
– Read the Word
– Something crafty
– Weekly date night with Chris
– Blog twice a week – this will happen one of these days, I know it will!
– Drink more water and take my vitamins every day

I’m excited to see how many of these get checked off! And… how many adventures we have in the process! Creating margin in my life means that while I have a list of things I’d like to accomplish, I can also be flexible enough to wonder off the beaten path and see what else is in store for this month. I’ll report back next month on my progress!

As a little reward for hanging in there and making it all the way to the bottom of today’s post, here’s Miss Molly, ready for me to stop photographing lemons and throw the ball already.

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Beach Snow | Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA

After being cooped up recovering from the flu and then the crazy weather we’ve had here in Virginia Beach this week, I was starting to feel a little like a caged animal. When we all woke up to snow and ice on Wednesday, it was pretty disappointing that my little car wasn’t going to be able to venture out. How often do we really get opportunities for snow pictures here? We really have to take advantage of every snowflake we get! Thankfully, Surfer Hubs was more than willing to sneak out of work a little early – the big truck means he didn’t have to work from home like I did that day – and drive down to the beach to check out the snow. We hit the beach just in time for those last few golden rays of light. Definitely worth the hustle to brave the ice and make it out to the sand – It was gorgeous!!

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